Imagine 200 women of all ages dressed in white ponchos and white skirts dancing to the full moon for 4 consecutive nights. The women are divided into 4 directions and the dance is conducted in geometrical patterns like 4 snakes overlapping and complementing each other. Each direction represents certain attributes and energies of a medicine wheel, with which each woman works on a personal as well as a collective level. The dance is accompanied by sacred songs in Nahuatl, the language of the ancient Mexicans, and by a huge drum that is brought to live by around 20 drummers. Each geometrical pattern that is danced has its own energy invoking aspects of strong female essence and raising female energy needed for healing and harmonisation with our natural cycles.
The moon dance started being revived in 1985 by Grandfather Tlakaelel and grandmothers who recovered it from the ancient Mexica traditions, which are a thousand years old. Grandmother Isabel Vega (Toluimatl), who was a sun dancer, received a vision to open a circle of moon dance. Together with other grandmothers (abuelas), they dreamed about a ceremony of the sacred pipe that will spread across the world like a star and the edges of the star were pointing to new places where this ceremony was going to be open. This prophecy has now come true and through the moon dancers, the Chanupa, the sacred pipe, has blessed and helped transform many people all around the world. The first moon dance took place in 1992 with Grandmother Isabel Vega (Toluimatl), Guadalupe Retiz (Tonalmitl), Patricia Guerrera Leal, the wife of Grandfather Tlakaelel, and another five in Mexico. Since then, the circle has grown and several circles in Mexico, as well as Costa Rica, Canada and the USA, sprang from the original one.
The circle in Costa Rica started 12 years ago, in 2007, by Grandmother Ana (Itzpaplotl) who herself started dancing in the original Mexican circle in 1996. We dance on her land, in the mountains of central Costa Rica.
Before and after each dance we purify ourselves in temazcal, a sweat lodge, a total of 8 times. We fast or semi-fast all 4 days and we dance from the late evening to the morning, welcoming the sun with a devoted appreciation of a new day. During the dance, we have some breaks during which we pray with Chanupa, the obsidian sacred pipe. During the day, after a short sleep, we receive teachings from the abuelas.
We give ourselves to service. We pray for ourselves, our families, ancestors, Mother Earth and all people and life on Earth. The moon dance is a spiritual work that heals us on all levels, be it physical, spiritual, psychological or emotional. It helps us to expand our state of consciousness and deepen our connection to Mother Earth and ourselves. The moon dance supports us in stepping into our power, to merge as strong, empowered women who are ready to assist the others in this powerful process of awakening.
And what about men? Men don’t dance with us but are an equally vital part of the ceremony of moon dance. They take care of us on the practical level and keep the fire. Without the men and their support, the dance would be like hopping on one leg. This dance taught me not only how to deeply love myself as a woman but how to deeply love and appreciate men.
My first moon dance was in February 2015. I became a pipe carrier a year later. During my fourth one, I was initiated and received my “name”. The following years until year 9 will be preparation and training in order to be able to bring this dance home to England and Czech Republic. I don’t see it as appropriating a Mexican tradition that may appear alien to ours. Instead, it is bringing a women’s tradition back to women, regardless on which side of the world they reside. We are all sisters embodying the Divine Feminine and this dance brings us closer to Her and ourselves. I dedicated my life to this sacred ceremony. It permeates every cell of my existence and my body.
Cuauhtli Meyotzin (Eagle of the shining water)
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